Internet use soars to 123 million in China
Updated: 2006-09-22 08:15

BEIJING - The Internet is becoming more and more popular in China, where 123 million users were counted by the end of June, second in the world only to the United States.

The number of broadband users reached 77 million and there are currently 788,000 websites in the country, Jiang Yaoping from the information ministry was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua news agency.

There were no comparative earlier figures available.

Despite its second place in the world list, Internet penetration is actually relatively weak per capita in the country of 1.3 billion people.

Jiang told a national meeting on Internet that the country's increasing netizens prompted the rapid development of Internet related technologies in China.

Internet has played an increasingly important role in promoting China's economic development and improving people's life quality, Jiang was quoted by Xinhua.

Meanwhile, he said China is stepping up efforts in supervising the Internet. With the wide use of Internet in the country, his ministry has already shifted focus from ensuring information and network safety to protecting intellectual property rights, consumers' rights and privacy and business secrets.

A series of rules and regulations have been worked out in this regard, including the Internet Safety Emergency Plan, he noted.